Cinematography The term cinematography originally came from the
meaning ‘The Art of Motion Picture Photography’ and was essentially used in reference to films. However, cinematography is used to describe all moving image work on film, video and digital media.
In order to be able to understand short films as a concept it was important to understand cinematography and what it is about. Cinematography includes aspects of: camera shots, camera angles and camera movements. The cinematographer is also known as the ‘Director of Photography (DP)’ aka ‘lighting cameraman’ and they are responsible for creative decisions around camera shots and angles.
Camera shots and angles The camera shot will alter according to the
context of the shot, it is important to get this right as different types of shots can have different meanings. When deciding the most appropriate camera shot it is crucial to consider what else is happening before deciding what they want the shot to mean and how they want the audience to feel. For example, the closer you are to the character the more you feel emotional towards them regardless of it being positive or negative.
Types of Camera shots:
Close up: Head and shoulders are in the frame, the directors want to focus our attention on their facial expression.
Extreme Close up: Small details, often used for artistic effect and can give the audience a sense of discomfort.
Long shot: Shows the whole character, drawing attention to costume and body language.
Types of camera shots:Extreme wide shot: The view is so far from the subject that the character isn’t visible. (Often used as an establishing shot)
Point of view: When the audience see exactly what the character is seeing.
Mid shot: The view is from the characters waist with partial view of the background, normally used to focus on the dialogue between two characters.
Types of camera shotsBirds eye view: When the camera looks down on settings of characters from high about, people tend to look insignificant.
Low angle shot: The camera is placed below the character looking up, normally to make the character seem large and more powerful.
High angle shot: The camera is placed above the character looking down, normally used to make the character look vulnerable.
Types of camera shots:
Over the shoulder shot: Looking from behind a character at the subject, normally to show the subject more clearly and to see their reaction
Two shot: A shot with two people which is used to show the relationship they have with each other.
Cameras are rarely motionless and if they are it’s because something in the frame was
moving or the moment requires stillness to create impact.
Types of Camera Movement: Steadi-cam: This is where the camera is at a stand still and is
mounted on a harness attached to the DP so the movement is smooth.
Handheld: The camera shots are a bit shaky and the shots are unclear as the camera in held without support. This is normally used to build tension and most commonly used in horror and action films.
Pan: This type of movement scans the scene horizontally (left to right/right to left)
Zoom: The camera is fixed and a zoom lens is used to move closely or move further a way, this is normally used to get expressions from the characters.
Tracking: This is when the camera is placed alongside the movement of the scene, this is normally used to portray a movement.
Tilt: A movement which scans a scene vertically (up and down/down and up)